By Christopher Robin Negelein
We might be missing Westworld and Game of Thrones, but this next couple of months won’t be short of serious scifi and fantasy when it comes to basic cable TV. If you need big ideas, politics and gritty violence, you’ve no less than four shows on your hit list. Three of these shows are returnees, so you don’t have to wait for the reviews to see if they’re up your alley.
The truly sad part is that most of these seasons have a limited run, The Expanse, for instance, has only 10 episodes. It’s a bittersweet thing, though. While we’ll have to say goodbye far too soon, we won’t miss the sort of filler you’ll find in shows that are mandated to go on for 20 episodes or more.
Mondays, AMC: Humans 10/9c
It’s world like our own — except instead of the smartphone rewriting human history, it’s the androids that now displace doctors and middle management after everyone bought one as a maid and private aide. Despite the first season coming out a year before Westworld, there will be comparisons and questions. The short answers are: less sex, more consequences and different, but still deep, issues.
Wednesdays, Syfy, The Magicians 9/8c
To say that The Magicians is just a grown up collegiate Harry Potter with all the sex and drugs that implies, discounts half the show. The first season was more focused on how ambition and the need to prove you’re the best can be narcissistic at best and addictive at the worst.
This season is almost prescient, dealing with a king who thought ruling as a part-time figurehead was going to be a full-on party. He, though, has it easy as his friends have to make harder choices and live with the consequences.
Wednesdays, FX, Legion 10/9c
This is a very bohemian “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? “ rhapsody series as our hero wonders if his mutant powers are real or drug-induced delusions. This is the series that fans of DooM Patrol and Shade, The Changing Man have been waiting for. Ironic since those are DC properties and Legion is Marvel. From what little I’ve seen, though, don’t expect to see Wolverine anytime soon.
Wednesdays, Syfy, The Expanse 10/9c
What have we Ganza Gangers not said about the Expanse that’s come off as nothing as constant praise. This current season is juggling a lot of characters, but that’s because our solar system is a big place that’s been ignored in most other Space Operas. It gives the show an ironic twist, as it covers the smallest area of any scifi show (from Earth to the Asteroid Belt) and making it feel like the biggest canvas.
It still has its cheats. All Martians wear a military uniform and all Earth side citizens are from the elite, but that seems to be changing.
And there’ no worry about the TV show catching up with the book series (going by the same name), the first and second season just barely finish out the first book.
So you could set your DVR, check in on your On Demand and then sit down for a live show if you want to catch all of this Golden Age TV as it airs.
Me? Thanks to streaming, it sounds like I have my Saturday morning “cartoons” back, but all grown up.